I was very pleasantly surprised, to have the opportunity to review the formidable Griffin (multiple technology) bat detector; from BatBox Ltd. in England. This is their top-of-the-range model, aimed at Professionals; and advanced hobbyists. For those who are not already familiar with this unit, I urge you to visit the BatBox Web site. And, for anyone wanting more detailed information and specifications, etc.; I would strongly recommend that you download & read the User Guide. Not only will it describe the system in detail; but it also provides great recording tips, which includes specific battery recommendations. And, it basically gives you an idea of what a high-end (Top-of-the-range) bat detector is made of.
The Griffin - BatBox Ltd.'s flagship bat detecting system, is an impressive unit to behold. In the hand, you are able to perceive a bit of heft to it - But not too much. Especially when you consider what this unit offers: An advanced, self-contained bat detecting system; which automatically records to CF memory cards. In addition, it's loaded with useful features. This is not just another high-performance bat detector - It is a complete system: Which allows automatic/unattended and scheduled (timed) recordings - Where recording start & stop times are specified by the user.
First things first: This unit is 3 complete bat detectors, in one hand-held package. Remarkable.
I've got to tell you, for starters - I've determined that the unit is very sensitive, in each of the three modes! Also, being able to easily toggle, through each of the modes (with a simple push of the 'H' button) is really nice.
The frequency division mode is excellent, just as sensitive as their Baton model - Which, as some readers may remember: I have always praised very highly! (and still do). It appears that BatBox really knows how to make a good FD system!
The heterodyne setting is nice and sensitive, the volume may be set quite high if desired (without distortion).
The time expansion system is excellent - Providing an awesome sampling rate of 705.6 kHz
And, the mixed / Binaural setting works a treat! Very nice.
Another prominent feature: Is the large blue display. It is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Frankly, it is the loveliest display I've ever seen on a bat detector.
Some More Initial Impressions:
There is something a little different, and a bit interesting about this instrument: In that the more you use it, the more you come to appreciate it - Especially, it's features.
Things like: Being able to see your remaining battery life at a glance (displayed right on screen), having a graphical representation of your sensitivity setting (Trigger Level for recording), Real-time display of ambient light and current temperature. I happen to really like the (dynamic) bar indicator, which also indicates the point at which recording will be triggered. It reminds me of the types you see on most modern sound recorders these days.
Another one of the features that you must actually use to truly appreciate, is how a you can see just how many triggered events have occurred - By taking a glance at the display. I've found this to be a great plus. It is akin to having a live gauge of your recording progress.
In an area well populated by bats, or where bats are seen in flight: You can see a numerical representation of your recording progress.
As another example: Imagine you are using the system in it's Silent Mode (another great feature!). Whether in a static location, using it for unattended monitoring, or even walking along wooded areas in the field: The Griffin's display, will indicate the number of recordings (triggered events) that have been made. It can help you decide, if you've collected a sufficient number of recordings for the night.
The front-mounted speaker produces excellent-quality sound, which can be adjusted in fine increments, using the encoder knob. Instant playback of recordings (in the field) is yet another uncommon luxury. There are also various options available, which allow a user to configure several different methods of unattended recording.
All-in-all, a very convenient system - It's very easy to use!
Stayed tuned for Part 2 Of 3 of this review - Which will include: A lot more info, performance observations, and some sonograms.
Click here for Part 2 Of 3 of this review
Happy bat detecting!